Crawley Wasps LFC youth report: Skipper Chanelle fires Under-16s into final

Chanelle Gainsford hit the winner as Crawley Wasps Under-16s booked their place in the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup final with a 4-3 win over Mile Oak Wanderers on Sunday.

As extra-time loomed, and conditions started to worsen, skipper Gainsford took matters into her own hands with a mazy run in the box before beating the keeper at her near post.

Mark Graves’ side will now meet either Eastbourne Girls or Horsham Sparrows in the final on Sunday March 4.

However, the victory was overshadowed by a broken shoulder sustained by winger Alana Delaney.

The quality of Wasps’ pitch at Ewhurst Playing Fields in Ifield was demonstrated by the fact it was one of few local matches to survive the poor weather – even the first-team’s game, at their home at Oakwood FC, was postponed.

Mile Oak took the lead after a balanced first 20 minutes but Wasps responded and won a penalty as Gainsford was taken out in the box.

She brushed the mud away to smash the spot-kick low and hard down the middle to equalise.

Mile Oak started the second half brightly and regained the lead but a Wasps corner led to a handball in the box, for another penalty, which this time Poppy Nicholls converted.

Nicholls netted again, this time with a deflected drive, to put Wasps ahead for the first time but the Mile Oak were not finished and a through ball was tucked beyond keeper Lauren Graves for 3-3.

But Gainsford – who earlier this season reached the last 64 for England Schools selection – had the last word and Wasps held strong to reach the final.

Nicholls and Macy Watts shared the Thales player of the match award.

Wasps: Graves; Tilford-Carey, Watts, Nicholls, Mullan; Sullivan, Gainsford, Bosher, Delaney (Upton); Flegg, Livingston. Sub not used: Sinden.

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